Picadillo is a dish with ground beef, tomato sauce and vegetables and it can vary greatly from one country to another. My version of picadillo isn’t based on any one authentic recipe. This is a very easy recipe to make. The bulk of the work entails chopping a few ingredients… the word picadillo is derived from the Spanish verb “picar”, which means “to chop”.
I love the contrasting flavours in this dish… tangy olives and sweet raisins. The onions and peppers provide texture and colour.
I like to wrap the picadillo in soft tortillas but for more crunch, tacos can be used as well. The recipe calls for tomato purée to be mixed with water. Tomato sauce (1-¾ cups) can be substituted for the tomato purée but it will be much higher in sodium, so don’t add salt at the end.
This pasta dish is best with a short, sturdy pasta such as tortiglioni or rigatoni. The pancetta and onions flambéed in vodka infuse the sauce with extra flavour. If you are a flambé novice, you will soon get over your fear as this recipe is easy to make. The creamy tomato sauce works well with some spicy heat and you are in total control of how much chilli you wish to add to the dish.
Who says tomatoes are a vital to a good pizza? Red pepper paste, particularly the one from Olive Branch, is the new tomato sauce. There are no tomatoes on this pizza, just lots of delicious red peppers (red pepper paste, roasted red peppers from a jar and fresh red peppers) as well as mushrooms, green and black olives, onions and mozzarella. Many of these ingredients are leftovers from the Cheese and Mushroom Frittata recipe so it’s an ideal dish to make in the same week.
I make fresh pizza dough in my breadmaker (it only takes 45 minutes) but ready-made dough or store-bought (pizza crust mix) could do. My trick is to leave the dough to rise in the breadmaker for about an hour then not knead, flour or roll the dough after I remove it. This results in a fluffy and thick crust ideal for a deep dish pizza. Remember to coat your hands with some olive oil so the dough doesn’t stick when you handle it.